Wednesday, August 10, 2011


I am no fan of needles. Never have been. This began when I was 8 and had my tonsils out. I was scared to begin with, and the sadomasochistic nurse put the IV in my hand without numbing it first.

In adulthood, although I always get blood work when I need it, I always have intense fear. I have to look away, breathe deeply, and avoid the humiliation of passing out. Sweating and crying are common.  To make matters worse I have had several inept nurses try to draw blood and leave me with bruises. They tend to blame me for this problem. Occasionally, I have a gifted phlebotomist or other medical professional who has no trouble at all.

Then, when I went for my first D&C after the miscarriage, I had a horrific IV experience. The nurse who was assigned to me tried to get the IV placed TWICE without success. Each attempt included an injection of numbing agent first. That means 4 needles later, and the IV was not placed. Finally, another nurse is able to place the IV. That means it took a total of 6 pokes. 6. 

So, needless to say, I have needle fear. This wasn't helped by the fact that my last blood draw at the RE's office did not go smoothly.

But, after months of setbacks, we finally got the go ahead to start injectable medications, leading to an IUI. This is good news. There is a much higher chance of the treatment being successful than anything we have tried yet. But, then there is the needle.

The first night, after watching the YouTube videos reminding us about how to give the shots, I sat with the syringe in my hand shaking. I tried over and over again to give myself the shot. The inner dialogue went something like this:
"Real women don't need a man to give them the shots."
"I should be able to do this! This will help get us a baby!"
"That needle is huge." (It isn't.)
"How the hell do diabetics do this?"
"Would my stomach or my leg hurt less?"
Etc. Etc. Etc.

Deciding I couldn't do it myself, I handed the needle over to Kev. We started a count to 3 several times. I couldn't seem to get to 3. After 2 venue changes, and much whining, he said, "This is going to happen one way or another tonight." So, after 30 minutes, while hiding my face, we counted "1.....2......3!"

Then....nothing. It didn't hurt. I barely felt it. But what I did feel is like I am an idiot.

But, somehow, the anxiety ramped up even more the next day. In my head, I knew it wouldn't hurt. But, that irrational fear just took over my brain. I started to really wonder if I could ever do IVF if I need to. From many infertile friends, I know THOSE shots are horrific. However, that night, although I shake and fuss, I allow Kev to get the shot done in half the time. Progress.

The third night, I make a major breakthrough. After prepping the shot, I looked at hubs and said, "I'm counting to 3. Just do it."

2 minutes. Done.The ensuing nights are similar.

I might still be lame for not doing it myself, but I'll take bravery in little bits and pieces.


  1. The shots are hard to get used to, even if they don't hurt. Anticipatory anxiety can be debilitating. Do not be too hard on yourself. You are getting the job done by any means necessary. FWIW, the IVF shots aren't much worse. By the time you get to the progesterone IM injections, you are SUCH an old pro at the needles. Yes, those needles are giant. But they don't hurt if you do them fast. By the end I was stabbing myself in my own ass. No big. But if you always need someone else to do it--THAT'S OKAY! This is not a bigger dick contest. If you ever get to that point, I have lots of tips to make it easier. But honestly, the injection does not hurt.

    Also, from my IV experience, I gotta say that that Lidocaine shot hurts WAY more than a straight-up needle. I quiver at the sight of Lidocaine. And extra retroactive hugs for what you went through last summer. Still cannot believe that they still found tissue like MONTHS after the initial D&C. Just awful. Poor Bex. :(

  2. Yeah that 2 D&C situation was one of the more trying medical situations I have ever had. Bah!

    Now that I am down to 15 seconds per injection, maybe I'll try it myself one of these days...


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